Just because your child is sleeping through the night doesn’t mean you have to: a guide.

3:30 a.m. The dog is barking! Wake up!

3:31 a.m. Where? What? Who? Charlie’s woofing like mad at nothing. You whisper, “Shh, Charlie. Shh. Shh. SHHH,” even though this has never, in your five years with Charlie, stopped him from barking. If anything, he seems to consider it some form of cheerleading. But you have to do something, so there it is.

3:33 a.m. Charlie gets himself back under the covers, turns a few times, tucks his cold front paws between your butt-cheeks, and instantly begins snoring. You move the paws out of the way, but you know they’ll be back in a minute. They always come back.

3:35 a.m. You’re still awake.

3:40 a.m. You’re still awake.

3:47 a.m. Is your husband awake? Nope. Did he sleep through the barking? It seems he did.

3:50 a.m. You stare at your husband for a while. He’s still sleeping. You hate him just a little.

4:00 a.m. Don’t be like that. Someday he’ll be gone. Or… you’ll be gone.

4:00:03 a.m. Don’t start thinking about death, you idiot.

4:01 a.m. Death. Cold, inevitable death. Soon—and forever.

4:03 a.m. Well, not soon soon. Sort of soon. Soon in relation to the universe.

4:04 a.m. Really soon in relation to the universe. Jeez--! Holy--!

4:05 a.m. Calm down. Longevity runs in the family. Think of your great-aunt, who lived to be almost 100. Decide you’re going to be just like her, in your Sutton Place apartment, walking to work every day in your little suit and pillbox hat.

4:07 a.m. Of course, you’ll also be alone, getting shorter and shorter as your spine slowly crumbles. You’ll write peculiar letters to your relatives accusing them of not feeding you at last year’s Thanksgiving. “The plates kept getting passed over my head,” you’ll write, in your spidery old-person handwriting. “I thought it bad-mannered to say anything, so I made do with some crackers.”

4:10 a.m. But who’s to say you’d live that long? It would be a privilege to live long enough to get that dotty.

4:11 a.m. Who’s to say you’ll live past tomorrow?

4:15 a.m. Don’t be ridiculous. You’ll live a long, healthy life. Go to sleep.

4:16 a.m. But people do get killed. There are random accidents. It could happen. To you.

4:17 a.m. Take a few minutes to consider, in agonizing detail, the horrific events that could lead to your sudden, unexpected demise.

4:25 a.m. Wow, that was a little too vivid.

4:26 a.m. Feel a little queasy. Are you coming down with something?

4:27 a.m. Decide that your ability to imagine these events so very well can mean only one thing: you’re psychic.

4:28 a.m. Wow. Psychic.

4:29 a.m. Good going, psychic lady. You just premonitioned…premonized…premonitated…foresaw your own doom, and now Henry’s going to grow up without a mother, and he’s going to forget all about you.

4:30 a.m. No! No! AIIIIEEE--

4:35 a.m. –EEEAIIIIIIIGH---

4:45 a.m. hurk hurk hurk hurk

4:50 a.m. sniffle. Sob. Sniffle. Snork. AIIIEEE—

5:00 a.m. This is getting serious, now. You need to sleep. You like to sleep. Find a way to calm down.

5:04 a.m. Okay. Okay. Listen. Decide that your ability to imagine some horrific death only means that you have an active imagination. (Probably.) You can imagine all kinds of things that will never come to pass.

5:05 a.m. Like a foot growing out of the side of Henry’s head.

5:07 a.m. Poor little foot-head! How could those kids taunt him like that?

5:10 a.m. Would it move? Would he put a hat on it, or a sock? Or a sock hat? Or a sock with a hat on it but how could a sock wear a hat and what about when he graduates how will the mortarboard fit and hi there lil foot-head want to try out for soccer zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.